The Dartmouth College Alumni Governance Task Force (AGTF) issued a new draft proposed alumni constitution on March 10, 2006. The new proposal incorporates many changes suggested by alumni to the previous draft constitution, which was issued in September 2005. Alumni are invited to comment on the new proposal through April 10.
'We have heard from alumni all over the map 'politically, geographically and demographically,' said Joe Stevenson '57, chairman of the nine-member panel appointed by the Association of Alumni and Alumni Council to develop a more effective alumni constitution. 'The hundreds of comments we received via email, mail, blogs, calls and face-to-face meetings have helped make the governance structure envisioned by this new draft constitution more open and transparent.'
According to Stevenson, the new proposal would bring the roles of both the current council and association under the association's aegis, creating new structures to improve communications between alumni and the College and better engage alumni through leadership, service and voting opportunities. Some 66,500-members strong, the association would provide a bully pulpit for alumni to speak their minds as well as create a representative advisory and service body open to anyone through class, club, at-large or other elections.
Under the new draft, one of the association's most important duties- nominating nearly half of the 18-member Dartmouth College Board of Trustees- would be simplified and made fairer for all. The new draft would promote one-person, one-vote balloting, halve the current number of signatures required for petitioners seeking to be trustees and allow all trustee candidates substantially the same amount of time for campaigning. In cases where a vote involving three or more candidates was necessary, the draft would keep the current approval method of voting in which alumni may vote for any and all candidates.
The draft also would remove service requirements for those wishing to lead the Association and its component parts, leaving decisions about qualifications to the voters.
'There's no insider track here- just plenty of opportunities for alumni to choose who they want to see on the board of trustees and in alumni leadership positions,' said Stevenson.
After making anylast changes based on feedback gathered through mid-April, the AGTF will present its final proposed constitution to the Alumni Council for approval at its May 19 meeting in Hanover. If the council votes to accept the new constitution, it will then be sent to the entire alumni body for a vote through Internet or mail balloting this summer. For the constitution to be enacted, it must be passed by two-thirds of those voting in the council and association.
The AGTF was created in January 2004 to carry on the work of the Council- and Association-appointed Joint Committee on Alumni Governance and Trustee Nominations, whose proposed constitution narrowly failed in a December 2003 in-person vote in Hanover. Building on the earlier draft, the new proposal seeks to achieve rapprochement among groups of alumni with widely differing views, from the Class Officers Association to Dartmouth Alumni for Open Governance.
As part ofthe comment period, alumni are invited to attend or log on to a simultaneous public meeting and Webcast in Boston on March 27. More information about the Boston forum and Webcast is available at http://webcast.dartmouth.edu.
The proposed new constitution is available online at http:///leadership/association/new_constitution.html and through the Dartmouth College Office of Alumni Relations at (603)646-3929. Comments and questions may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to the Alumni Governance Task Force, 6068 Blunt Alumni Center, Hanover, NH 03755-3590.
Public discussion of the proposed new constitution is also taking place in the blogosphere at http://dartmouthaoa.blogspot.com (the Association of Alumni blog) and http://dartagtf.blogspot.com/ (the AGTF forum)